Tiger and Scorcher, 1st March 1975

It’s time to pick out a random issue of a comic and look at it again!

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My flash doesn’t like coloured ink on newsprint

Tiger started in 1954, and was the second of three “big cat” comics. The other two were Lion and the short-lived Jag (which merged into Tiger). Those were both general adventure comics, but Tiger had a sports theme. in 1955 Tiger absorbed the sport themed story paper Champion, which had been running since the 20’s and was one of the few Amalgamated Press / IPC publications to come through the war.

Scorcher was a football comic which began in 1970, alongside Score ‘n Roar (a “two in one” football comic). These merged in 1971 to create Scorcher and Score, which unusually retained it’s merged title right up until 1974, when it merged with Tiger to become Tiger and Scorcher.

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A kid who uses magic boots to play professional-quality football despite being talentless is in no place to talk about “sporting”!

Sport comics of the time often had a “splash” cover with one big picture, but it was still part of one of the stories inside, and was rotated. This issue it’s the turn of Billy’s Boots to take the cover. Billy Dane is a schoolboy who can’t play football, but discovers a pair of boots that once belonged to “dead-shot” Keen, a famous international. When he wears them he can play as well as “dead-shot” could, making him the best player at his school. Of course, the boots went missing on a regular basis. Here some bullies plot to steal them at half time.

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Those were the days for F1!

Skid Solo is probably the most famous British motor racing comic, which isn’t saying much! He was a driver in top-level single-seat Grand Prix cars. Of course jealous rival teams regularly sabotaged them, or the teams other equipment. Here an arrogant Argentine driver wants to force the British one in his team out of their one remaining car.

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Here’s a typical quiz page. How is your knowledge of 70’s sport?

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You’d think the artist would have got better at drawing Mini’s over time

In full colour is Martin’s Marvellous Mini, a long-running story about a couple of guys travelling around and entering races for prize money, which they can use to fund their next trip. Here they are racing against other Minis, but in other stories you get to see some great 70’s cars like Ford Capris. One other issue features a “relay race” in which they buy a Hillman Imp to use as a second car.

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More text on one of these pages than an entire Doctor Who Adventures!

Next is a special article for footballers, written by world cup legend Jack Charlton. Not every issue had an article like this, I’m surprised it wasn’t announced on the cover!

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Look up “legendary British comics” and you’ll see this picture!

And speaking of football, here’s probably the most famous football strip of all time! Roy of the Rovers was already over 20 years old at this point, and wasn’t slowing down! The following year he would get a football-filled comic all to himself (Taking Billy’s Boots and Nipper with him). Even today, commentators describe amazing comebacks as “Roy of the Rovers stuff”.

And facing it, an advert for issue 1 of another legendary comic, Battle Picture Weekly (later Battle, then Battle Action… then Battle Action Force, but we don’t like to talk about that). This was IPC’s response to DC Thomson’s Warlord, which began the previous year. Battle would go on to host Charley’s War, Darkie’s Mob, Major Eazy, Johnny Red, The Bootneck Boy and many other famous strips.

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Quick Wiki research shows they got to the FA Cup 3rd round, and 13th in the First Division

On the centre pages, a football team pin-up. These would also migrate to Roy of the Rovers before long. No doubt other issues of Tiger featured rugby or motor racing teams.

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And I thought my own “A Sting in the Tail” was the first Speedway strip

Popular fiction has it that the first successful female character in a British boy’s comic was Halo Jones. The truth has it that Tallon of the Track, about Jo Tallon, manager of a speedway team, ran in Tiger for many years through the 70’s and 80’s. Of course she may have been written out of history because she managed a speedway team – all those horrible, polluting motor vehicles! Also in this story the team are on tour in the Soviet Union, though the politics are not really mentioned.

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Great artwork in this

The popularity of professional wrestling rises and falls like a yo-yo (or like the popularity of yo-yo’s). In the mid 70’s TV was full of British professional wrestling, with stars like Big Daddy and, erm, no, can’t think of any others. Of course, this also spilled over into comics in the form of Johnny Cougar, the redskin wrestler. This is another story that runs and runs through the issues I have. He seems to do a lot of touring around America, taking on various wrestlers and their crooked promoters. This is “legit” wrestling, rather than the pre-written “kayfabe” stuff!

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And I thought the Phoenix Fanfare was disappointing for kids, they make their own 10 page epic and all that gets into the comic is the cropped, unreadbly-tiny first page! Here the whole editorial section is only half a page. The editor here talks about references to Roy of the Rovers in football commentary. Perhaps we ought to start ‘promoting’ modern British comics in a similar way… not that you see too many pirates riding on dinosaurs around.

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 Nice Wolsely Hornet there

Hot-shot Hamish is a comedy Scottish footballer who remained with Tiger into the 80’s, when most of the others had defected to Roy of the Rovers. He plays for Princes Park, and usually shoots so hard the ball and the goalkeeper go tearing through the back of the net! Here his friend has won a bet, and they go to collect, the loser thinks they want to take his house, so starts firing at them with cannons. This whole scene wouldn’t have looked out of place in Captain Hurricane!

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These sorts of caricatures always look awkward.

The usual factual strip, this one about the history and successes of Aston Villa.

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Willy Wonty Superstar is the only ‘proper’ comedy strip in the comic. Readers would send in suggested storyline ideas, and the one used would receive £3. Here Willy and his “manager” have to try and score goals against each other.

Facing the strip is an advert for Look and Learn, a factual magazine featuring incredible paintings which are still being re-used in books today. This advert announces it’s merger with another magazine called World of Wonder. The most famous thing about Look and Learn (and the only reason kids bought it) was of course the “Roman”/sci-fi epic The Trigan Empire. This remains fondly remembered, and can be re-bought in hideously expensive hardback volumes. Rumours of a Hollywood film version continue to rumble on…

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 Distinctive, gritty artwork for this one. It would have suited a horror story!

Nipper was yet another football strip, this time about a back street lad working his way into top-flight football. Here he has been selected for the England under-23 team against Italy, and can do nothing right in the eyes of a snob in the team – not even when he scores!

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And the back cover sports star photo. This page also takes suggestions from readers, but only pays out £1 if theirs is used. I suspect the editors already had a list of pictures they were going to use, and awarded the prizes to anybody who was lucky enough to choose from the list. I doubt they specially ran around looking for the stars!

More Wight Smiles

Unlike the previous post, this is not a foreign comic. It is from “overseas”, though!

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They’re trying to say “left”

More Wight Smiles is a collection of cartoons by Rupert Besley, which originally appeared in the local papers on the Isle of Wight. As the name implies, this is the second collection. I didn’t buy the first collection when I was there because it was rarer, thicker, more expensive and the satire in it was “ancient”, being 4-5 years old. Except now the satire in this one is 12-14 years old, so yeah.

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All predictions that proved eerily accurate

Being from 1998 – 2000 there’s plenty of references to the issues of the day, especially the Millennium, the Dome, Metric Martyrs and, of course, those phones!

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This book is what might be called “medium press”, you aren’t likely to find it on sale outside the Isle of Wight, but it could be found being sold in normal shops there (well, the gift shops at tourist attractions anyway). Despite being apparently aimed at tourists, it is a compilation of cartoons from the local paper, so there’s plenty of IoW (you pick up the lingo)-centric gags.

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There’s also several related to TV12, apparently an attempt at creating a TV station for the island, which had terrible reception problems – despite being aimed at the residents of an island only 23 miles wide.

Still, as it’s a seperate book, showcasing the artist’s skills, there’s several additional cartoons. Both in the same style as the newspaper ones, or larger, free form pictures.

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Obviously!

Of course, coming from the local paper, there’s also plenty of references to local news stories that even the people who lived through them can’t remember today. Several have short, explanatory text – though annoyingly this just makes you wish you could have read the original articles!

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Another one has “bowls hooligans”, invading the pitch and drinking tea without raising their pinkies.

I wish my local area had compiled cartoon books like this, but my local paper doesn’t actually have any cartoons! Well there is “Funny Business” on the money page, but that’s not funny, and so generic that it’s probably produced in a factory somewhere and sold all over the country. This book was an inspiration to me when I first got it, because I was creating my ultra left-wing, satirical webcomic Felney at the time. Later unsucessfully revived as another webcomic with an “actual” “plot”.

Hmm, maybe I ought to revive it again, and try and sell it to the local paper!

Peeps at foreign comics 1: King

If I won the Euro Millions, I’d bring back British comics by brute force – by starting my own publishing company producing an Amalgamated Press-style range of weeklies, monthlies and annuals aimed at all age groups, and starting my own chain of newsagents / corner shops with the express purpose of selling them (for £1 an issue as I wouldn’t charge myself shelf rental fees!). As a mere side project I’d build a vast museum dedicated to the history of comics of all nations, from early experimental magazines for children right up to the gift shop selling the latest issues of titles from all around the world (even in languages very few visitors to the museum will be able to read, like Kyrgyz).

But as I haven’t won the Euro Millions, and maybe only buy one ticket a year, I’ll just have to relegate myself to collecting items for the museum one by one and displaying them here.

King – Volume 15 (Shōwa 14 / 1939), issue 3 (March).

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Rather unassuming cover. Horizontal Japanese was read right-to-left at the time, but is left-to-right (キング) today.

King was first published in Taishō 13 (1924) and was a monthly of about 520 pages. In common with British adventure comics of the same era, it was mostly illustrated text stories with a few comedy strips and articles. Judging from the illustrations, the text stories were mostly serious, but some were comedy. The illustrations themselves are in either line or wash, and are almost entirely black and white. A few of the comedy strips have light colour tones, and a photo article near the front has the photos reproduced in a strange blue/green tint. Unlike a lot of British comics of the era, it’s absolutely awash with adverts, and even has a couple of colour insert “postcards” with ads on them.

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Incidentally, here’s an older issue seen in the Tokyo-Edo museum in 2009.

Like several Japanese comics today, the issue opens with colour pages, however these are just illustrations and plates, rather than strips. There’s a large fold-out section at the front (with ads on the back of the flaps – cram ’em in!) with nice illustrations along the top, matching the theme of the cover. This appears to be the contents page, or at least the lines all end with numbers.

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If each vertical line is one story / article, it would appear there’s credits too!

Then there’s a wonderful full-colour plate, the title of which appears to be “parting from the breast”. The woman seems to be stopping her baby breastfeeding so that he can be given a Japanese flag, at a train station. Before I translated the title I assumed it was a picture of a welcoming ceremony for army medical officers coming home from the front. Anyway, in the 19th and early 20th centuries the Penny Dreadfuls, as well as papers like Chums and Chatterbox, would give away free full-colour plates occasionally. This one is actually printed on the pages themselves, I wonder if every issue included a painting?

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A 520 page wedge of 75 year old paper can’t be folded right back for decent photos, mind you.

Following this is “Celebrity Success Album”, which has pictures of men at home with their children or reading big scrolls. I think the big scrolls may be awards from the Emperor, or maybe university degrees. According to my dictionary the word used for “Success” in the title means “Success in life”, so perhaps it’s showing readers the comfortable home life they can have if they work hard.

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Had to hold the pages open with a torch. I normally use a really heavy weight, but didn’t want to damage this, it’s very possibly the only one in Europe!

Following this is another article, called something like “Situation Photo Sketch Report”. Basically news photos. The only news in Japan at that time was their battle to establish an area of influence in Manchuria, in northern China. They called this Manchuko, and it was unpopular with most of the Chinese people, and also with the other colonial powers who had already established their own areas of influence there. Guerrilla attacks on Japanese soldiers led to escalating reprisals on both sides, which resulted in what is euphemistically called “The Manchurian Incident” (because war was never formally declared).

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The air force parading over Tokyo, with Mount Fuji in the distance

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Northern China can be very cold! Though to us Commando readers we only really imagine imperial Japan fighting in steaming jungles.

After these articles we come to the first set of comic strips, of which there’s several ‘batches’, most of the strips are only single pages of 5 panels, often numbered (though that wasn’t unheard of in British comics at the time). From the artwork and overuse of a small katakana TSU, a ‘sound extender’ for making screams and shouts, at the end of each line, I gather they are all comedy. Most appear to revolve around family life and naughty children doing the unexpected.

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This one appears to be about a sumo wrestler?

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Mischevious kid doing… something.

Of course, most of the issue is filled with the text stories. These are in two or three “columns”, which are horizontal, as the writing is read vertically. Each story is introduced with a large picture accompanying the title, and has other illustrations throughout. Some, on their first full page of text, have a large amount of writing in a box. This is presumably a “story so far” section for serials. Others don’t have this, so the comic must have had a mixture of both complete stories and serials, just like British contemporaries such as Detective Weekly and Thriller.

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This one is called “Love and Hate’s Writing”. Less literally, it’s probably “Love and Hate Letters”

There appears to be two basic kinds of stories, those set in the Edo period, when Japan was all samurai and ninja and isolated from the world, and those set in modern times. Romantic stories appear to be set in both periods, while other modern stories look like they’re about detectives, comedy or war. The stories set in the past look like they’re all quests to satisfy ones honour, fighting loyally for your lord and so on.

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The would-be suitor gets advice from his friend? Those boxed out bits are probably adverts, they’re on almost every text story page!

The most obvious detective story is Hiyauban Tantei Jitsu Wa Shifu, two of the characters (Jitsu and Shifu) appear to be obsolete in modern Japanese (the Wa is “speak” or “story”, and may be in a compound with either or both). Hiyauban Tantei means “Reputation Detective Work”. The story seems to revolve around a house burning down and the masked detective investigating, finding a glove near the crime scene. Later on a submarine is involved!

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This is a clue in any language

There’s also a war story, from the illustrations it appears to be about base camp life / wounded soldiers in hospital, rather than battle. Or maybe the illustrators just didn’t draw a battle scene. It’s actually pretty short, and is called Two Soldiers. Now that I look it actually appears to be a bedtime story told to a kid!

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He’s not a ghost, it was the flash!

A more general adventure story is called Chikahi No Hayashi. Hayashi is “Forest”, but it’s spelt with wierd kanji (Chinese characters with both a sound and a meaning) here. Chikahi is “Vow”, so the story may be called Vow in the Forest. Either way it appears to involve a man and woman walking about in a forest and witnessing at least one murder.

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All she seems to do is watch people get killed and cry. At least it’s a memorable holiday!

As well as grim and grimy stories like that, there appears to be more light hearted, comedy ones. You can usually tell by the illustrations. In the Edwardian period Union Jack would often use a certain artist when they did a comedy story, for instance in Butler and Page Boy from 1905/6.

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Moving on to the historical stories, which all appear to be set in the Edo / Tokugawa Shogunate period. This was a span of around 250 years in which Japan was isolated from the world, any foreigners (with the exception of, apparently, some “Mexicans” from the very early history of “Mexico”, which was actually just a Spanish colony at the time) who went there would be killed, and it was also punishable by death to try and build an ocean-going ship. During this period the Emperor lived in the capital, Kyoto, but was powerless while the Shogun, the real ruler (though technically the Emperor was still called the ruler) lived in Edo, or Tokyo. At the time Japan was at peace with itself, and most people worked as farmers, merchants or artists. But it was still a highly-stratified, class-based society with the samurai as protectors of their feudal lords, and upholders of the law. Of course, the Shōwa Nationalist period was awash with stories harking back to this day of a “Japanese Japan” with a strict code of honour and everybody knowing their place.

…even though “Bushido” as we know it today was actually invented in the 19th century, and was heavily inspired by the honour code of British Victorian gentlemen.

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This story is called Gokunan, or “country difficulty”. Presumably it’s about a rebellion.

Another historical story, with fantastic illustrations, is Wori Zuru Hi Henge. I can’t make head nor tail of the title, one of the kanji is fantastically complicated and has probably been taken out of use. Words I can work out are “Crane” (as in the bird) and “Transform / Become”. Mind you it’s possible part of the title is somebody’s name.

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A wandering warrior with a baby, just like Lone Wolf & Cub (or Shogun Assasin). With less flying body parts.

There’s also historical comedy stories. Or at least this is the universal image for “toothache”, “you made those rock cakes out of real rocks” or “I’ve found the sixpence in the Christmas pudding!”.

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Don’t think a Japanese story would have that last one, though.

 Oh, and also apparently revolvers and guys able to quickly draw and shoot them were not unknown in the Edo period. News to me.

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The sundial struck noon

King also contains plenty of articles, with a greater or lesser degree of illustration. This one appears to be “moral lessons” of some kind. The first image (top right) is probably about showing reverence to the Emperor. On the next page there’s a guy giving up his train seat for a wounded soldier, and a crowd seeing the marching soldiers off from a temple.

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Bit o colour again

There’s also an article which appears to be about religious observances, which at the time was “State Shinto”, a nationalised version of the indigenous Japanese religion. At the time they’d even banned Buddhism as “foreign”, even though it had been in Japan well over 1000 years by then!

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Kids lined up with traditionally-shaved heads

There’s also what appears to be profiles of historical figures, with ukiyo-e style pictures or paintings.

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With one old photo

There’s also, inevitably, articles about the army, with pictures (and probably profiles) of soldiers, as well as photos of actions and equipment.

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Some mortars being fired at the bottom… are those white helmets?

There’s also some profiles of more modern figures. Most of them Japanese, but there’s also a picture of a future ally…

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At the time quite a celebrated leader, actually. He reined in the mafia and Studebaker named a car the Dictator after him.

I make a policy of not going on about the adverts in old comics, mainly because people who have apparently never heard of inflation constantly waffle on about how Corgi cars used to “only” cost 2¾p, and other such nonsense. But I’ll make an exception here, mainly because a lot of the ads have really good artwork.

This one appears to be about becoming a railwayman or sailor. They’re the same style, no doubt the railways were nationalised at the time. Both ads have a box saying “Nippon Daiichi”, which is either “Japan’s best” or “Japan is best”.

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Puff puff puff

The well-known Japanese love of photography is evident, that camera looks years ahead of ones I see advertised in British comics of the same time. There’s also a nice quack remedy – a magnetic headband?

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Look at that thing! Other countries were still using wooden accordions.

This appears to be an advert for an upcoming story, or perhaps a seperately-published book. The big characters roughly translate as “Flame of Battle”.

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Also used as the title of a Commando, many years later

And here’s one of the coloured postcards, advertising face cream. Another one advertises Club “dentrifice”, which appears to be the name they used for powdered toothpaste at the time.

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Actually that’s called Club Cream

The back cover has an advert with a baby – just like the Pears Soap ads which graced the back of The Boys Friend Library for many years. It also has a small English section with the US copyright notice, date and issue number.

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Oh and it’s orange.

Aand finally, here’s an image of King next to some more modern Japanese comics – Boys’ Monthly Magazine, and the weeklies Morning and Shonen Jump. It’s page size is a bit smaller, but then again it was mostly text. A much better comparison would, of course, be to the text story paper Lynx Library. But that’s still in a box on a ship somewhere!

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EDIT: When I originally wrote this post I thought King was basically “The Shonen Jump of the 30’s” (though, of course, mostly text stories). But later learned that it was actually aimed at an adult audience (adults of the time though, so it’s not full of t*ts and innards). It’s probably closer in style to British magazines of the 1900’s – WW1, such as The Penny Pictorial (which I have the first volume of, and will one day review!)

Curtis Hoffman, who lives in Japan and who runs a great blog about mangæ, has made a series of 3 posts about King. It was the first Japanese magazine to sell a million copies, and was the subject of a museum exhibition in late 2009:

http://threestepsoverjapan.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/birth-of-million-seller-part-1.html

http://threestepsoverjapan.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/birth-of-million-seller-part-2.html

http://threestepsoverjapan.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/birth-of-million-seller-part-3.html

MCM Winter Expo 2012

(Why yes, I am referring to them in the same manner as the Japanese refer to Comiket, though those are a couple of months later, entirely dedicated to comics, and four times bigger XD)

Last weekend I went to the MCM Expo, which is held twice a year in London’s Excel Centre. Also known for hosting various Olympic events. I actually got myself organised this time, and caught the same train as my friend from King’s Lynn, so we went together. I also finally gave her a Nendoroid (small, chubby figures of characters from nerdy things… where’s the Doctor Who ones?) I’d bought in Japan. She was with various friends in costumes, who said “We’re a bunch of freaks”. Except on the way down the train I’d walked past a loligoth zombie with her face all in stitches, so yeah. I’d intended to dress up as a 30’s American gangster, to “promote” Pulp Detective. In the event, I forgot to even take the first issue of Pulp Detective and shove it in people’s faces. The small WH Smith in the King’s Cross Underground didn’t have it either. Why yes, I would have bought a second £3.25 copy just to shove in people’s faces.

Anyway, on arrival we promptly lost most of the people from the train, who had spent the journey playing Mario Kart and screaming. The journey to the venue was uneventful… apart from when a few Japanese girls accosted my friend (dressed as computer-generated singer Hatsune Miku) and wanted pictures taken with her. Then they asked us where “the Harry Potter place” was. We also met a cowboy on the underground, but he was on a pub crawl, not going to the con XD. Also my friend’s friend, dressed as the second doctor (though with the hair of the fourth XD) decided to spend the rest of the day in character, which was amusing (he saw many of his future selves). We waited for somebody else, who was cosplaying a “Pyramid Head” from… some game. We had to wait for him to change, which appears to have involved taking most of his clothes off, which somehow took ages. His costume was very good, so loads of people wanted pictures taken, he also insisted on walking to the queue “in character”, dragging his huge sword. We decided to leave him to it.

The queue was as fun as ever, with many hi-fives and fist bumps. There was also a few “mexican wave cheers”, but as big as the MCM queue is, it was a bit too small for those to work properly. You really need 110,000 people, stretched across a gigantic field, with AC/DC at one end. Later on we tried to start a mass singalong, but unfortunately nobody else knew the words to any Spitting Image songs (or 19th century German propaganda anthems). Oh we also got everybody clapping at one point XD. After the qeue was finished I lost the other two by stopping to have Thai curry AND sushi… well you didn’t get very much of either. The sushi was the nicest pre-packaged kind I have had in this country, which isn’t saying much.

Once that was over and done with, it was on to the main hall! I’ve always said they should expand the convention into two halls, instead they appear to have taken out the partition between two and turned them into one huge one. It was far less crowded than it was in May, and even the small press “comic village” had a decent amount of space between tables. It was also the first place I headed for, of course! There was plenty else going on along the way, mind you. KITT was parked in the middle of the hall, and there was a Yu-gi-oh / Magic card tournament nearby. Also costume competitions, talks and that. All of which I sailed serenely and ignorantly past, I had comics to buy!

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The complete haul

Japanofail issue 6 (of 5) is a collection of very funny gag strips, I’ve lost track of how many of them I have, mind you. Better have a dig in the small press drawer.

I also got a couple of Victorian-set stories, though both involving elements of “Steampunk” and magic. Widdershins is pretty funny, and remarkably for a “vaguely manga”-type modern story, doesn’t depict Victorian Britain as “just the same as it is now but with a few gas lamps”.

Twisted Dark is great big 200 page wedge of horror for only £5, and Tortured Life is a new full-colour comic from the same creators. This one about a man who is able to see how people and animals will die when he looks at them, so becomes a hermit, then finds somebody who is apparently not going to die!

Allsorts is from Sweatdrop Studios (in-depth post really is going to be made one day, honest! …or just look them up yourself) and is an all-ages comic. There’s actually a few Sweatdrop comics that would be great for children, but which have swear words added for no reason. It puts me in mind of “daringly” watching 12-rated films when you are 10, or spotting one swear word in a translated manga. Completely pointless! Anyway, Allsorts is A4 sized and very thin, a format just like a traditional British weekly. Mind you it’s also £5 because it has a small print run and many people worked on it. It even has a text story! Though knowing the Sweatdrop lot, this was no doubt inspired by seeing text stories in The Phoenix, rather than a knowledge of the history of British (or real history of Japanese) comics. Also from Sweatdrop is Reluctant Soldier Princess Nami – a parody of Shoujo Battle anime from the late 80’s, which makes no sense to me, probably because I haven’t watched what it is parodying!

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Oops, some airfix paints fell conveniently into place

But the best buy of the con was this Doctor Who book. IDW in the US are producing their own Doctor Who comics (including a crossover with Star Trek) independently of the strips in Doctor Who Magazine or Doctor Who Adventures. The cover was signed by artist Al Davison! I’m keeping that one in an old Phoenix envelope. The story itself is about the tenth Doctor in the world of Hollywood during the roaring 20’s. I seem to remember a brief reference to that in one of his last TV episodes – making the book a neat ‘gap filler’.

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Posters n postcards

The most interesting thing I got was Sound, a compilation of Vietnamese comics(!). The theme of the collection is Sound, though there’s also plenty of stories with a ghostly horror element. One story, perhaps inevitably, mentions the war and another gives an insight into Vietnamese culture – they have a “Civil Defense” who are like Britain’s PCSO’s, only organised along military lines. The artwork is mostly Japanese style and the production of the book is in line with UK small press anthologies. I suppose Vietnam’s comic industry is tiny, under-funded and anaemic, with a very blurred line between the “small press” and “professionals”. Just like Britain’s comic industry, in fact!

After a lot of wandering about looking for my friends and appreciating cool costumes, I spent the last of my money on some Japanese porn comics and came home, going through several flurries of freezing cold rain. Winter is truly here now, so stay indoors with your favourite picture-books. My next convention will probably be the Spring MCM or Camcon II… depending on dates! There is a convention in Leeds next weekend, which The Phoenix will have a stand at, but that’s a bit far to go for a day trip, from here.